Voices

voices

 

 

 

Voices.

“What…” Static. “…is it?”
“I think it’s a life pod. An old one.”
“Old? Ancient.”
“Worth even more then. Have Drax break out the grappling arm.”

An arm, soft, warm, brushing his.

“…markings. Tri-Planet, from about two hundred years ago.”

Two hundred years? No, yesterday.

“…have capture.”
“Bring it in. Cargo bay four.”

“Four months? Don’t take this one, Johnny, please. I have a really bad feeling.”
“Come on, Linz, you know I can’t turn it down. A.C. asked me himself. And four months isn’t so long. I’ll be back before you have time to miss me.”

“…decompress. Who knows what the old geezer died from. And get the Doc in on it. He can do a DNA trace once we crack the pod. What do you think it’s worth?”
“Worth, Cap? Whadda mean, worth?”
“Hell, Tri-Planet’ll pay. One of theirs, returned home after two hundred years? What a publicity stunt this’ll be for them. They’ll pay. Through the nose.”

“…have your nose.” A laugh.
“Geez, Linz, don’t curse the little bugger before he’s even born!”
Sadness. Goodbyes.
“Come back to me, Johnny.”
“With bells on, babe. With bells on.”

“Shut off that damn alarm. It’s giving me a headache.”
“It’s a safety alarm, Cap.”
“I know what the hell it is. Shut it off.”
“Can’t, Cap. You know that. Security protocol. Re-pressurize the bay and it’ll shut off by itself.”
“Not until we know what Davy Jones there died from. That’s my security protocol.”

“Protocol be damned, A.C., those people are dying. We can’t ignore a distress call!”
Heavy sigh.
“You’re right, Johnny. All right, you stay here. I’ll take Lewis to ride shotgun. I want you here in case anything goes wrong. Lewis couldn’t pilot this damn thing across a mud puddle.”
“Get going, A.C. Those people are in trouble.”

“…more trouble than it’s worth. An autopsy in zero G? Give me a break.”
“Once Drax gets that pod cracked, that’s exactly what you’ll do. That’s an order, Doc. Get it done.”

“Dammit, Johnny, that’s a direct order. Everyone’s dead, do you understand? All of them. And there’s no way we can get back. You take the damn ship and shape for home.” Pleading. “Let them know. I don’t want my kids to never know what happened. Tell my kids. Tell your kids.” Forced laughter. “Make us heroes, Johnny. Make us heroes.”

“They thought they were all some kind of big heroes back then. Braving the unknown, seeking that far fucking horizon, all that crap. Damn, this code don’t work neither. I can’t open the thing, Doc.”
“Well, they were kind of heroes, weren’t they? I mean, look at what they had for ships and equipment. This life pod. I can’t think of anything so hopeless I’d trust my life to something like this.”

“Linz, baby, I’m trusting to this pod to bring me back to you. To you and Junior. You must have given up on me by now, but I’m coming home. The ship is dead, the meteor storm saw to that, but not me. Not your Johnny. I’m not giving up.”

“Cap, give up. Take the thing to Tri-Planet and let them crack it. They’ll have the codes.”
“We’ll get higher salvage prices if the pod’s still intact.” Indecision. “All right, dammit. Shape for home. But by god, I want to be paid. I ain’t out here for the adventure.”
“None of us are, Cap. None of us are.”

“A grand adventure, love. All of it. I wish I could’ve made it back, seen our baby, held you again. But it’s been a grand adventure. Lewis, A.C.? They died heroes. All those people on that ship, they did too. One day space will be ours, and it’ll be because of men like A.C., men like Lewis. Hell, babe. Men like me.”

“Course set, Cap. ETA 3 days, give or take.”
“Asteroid belt about twelve hours ahead, Cap.”
“Shape around it, dammit. I ain’t letting a bunch of rocks keep me from collecting on that Davy Jones. Hell, space is ours. Always has been.”
“You know, Cap, I still wonder who’s inside.”
“Nobody special, Drax. Nobody special.”

“I’m nobody special, Linz. Lieutenant John Anthony Abbott, explorer and sometime astronaut. There’s thousands more to take my place. But it’s guys like me that’ll make space ours, guys like me and the ones who’ll be out here long after I’m gone.

And you loved me, and that’s made it all worth while.”

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